Welcome to Southwest Florida German Shepherd Rescue Inc., Anonymous Sunday, December 10 2023 @ 07:53 am UTC


  • Wednesday, August 24 2011 @ 05:57 pm UTC
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We are frequently asked how dogs adapt to changes in their homes and masters when they go though shelters and rescues. The answer is that dogs seem to adapt to new people and environments, but never forget that both positive and negative experiences they have had in their lives can and will influence their behaviors in response to certain stimulus. Do not suppose your dog is perfect until you have done training with him and he has lived with you and your family for a sufficient enough time to have experienced most of his normal response behaviors to you and your environmental stimulus. Dogs have an unlimited capacity to love and to accept changes both over time and in the moment. Rescue dogs need understanding and patience to create the appropriate bond. People who expect the pup to be their ‘old dog’ soon realize that they are not. People who expect the dog to be perfectly trained will be disappointed and those who expect the dog to come without mental baggage are unrealistic.

We have found that dogs do live in the moment. They seem to adapt to changes very will if those changes are positive and done in a manner suiting the dogs personality and temperament. Some dogs who have become aggressive, negative towards animals or people cannot and probably will not adapt to change and do not go through our rescue. We do our level best to test the animal for temperament issues so that with our rescue dogs you have the best chances for success possible; but nothing is a certainty when dealing with an animal. There is no sure thing or slam dunk in dog rescue. It is only through understanding and time do things work out well. Unfortunately there are many people who should never have animals especially not rescue dogs and more so not German Shepherds. Typically it is the new owner, not the animal, that screws up. If you fail to heed our warnings that training is the holy grail in dog (rescue dog) ownership, you will be really disappointed in getting a dog. If you fail to understand tolerance and the need for long term training of the new pet, you will screw up your life, at least until you return the dog to us and the animals life for many years to come. If you really do not spend the time with the pup you may have created the situation that renders the particular dog unadoptable for anyone else. If you do not understand that GSD’s need an alpha dog in the home, you will become the dogs ‘bitch’ and have a really negative adoption experience.
Coping is not a positive situation. It is only through training can you make the adoption work. By beating the dog, screaming at him (outside normal training) depriving it of love and a positive environment, promoting aggression or just severe neglect, animals can be changed from loving creatures to dangerous animals. That change is irreversible, so if you decide to adopt, please think of your personal situation first before you decide. These factors include your family, your home and your motivation.

When an animal is first recovered from a shelter or give-up situation, we try and evaluate the dogs temperament, aggressiveness toward animals and his propensity to become a great family pet. We do this by a series of basic tests which help determine the dogs adoptability through our rescue. We do not take in all dogs, in fact we turn down at least 50%. This is not to say that other rescues would not take animals rejected by us, but it does mean that the dogs that come through our rescue possess a certain series of traits which allow us to work with the dog for adoption to a family. If the dog responds well to these simple tests we will take the dog in and further reprogram him to accept a new owner, new friends both dogs and cats and kids. We look for dogs who can take direction, respond to food rewards and love, and of course respond to praise and positive motivation. Many dogs we get are stubborn, but that does not make them bad. Many dogs have different triggers for learning and we need to find them. We always disclose all traits we find to potential adopters and we always suggest the ways to train that particular critter once an adoption decision is made. Dogs have different perceptions of people and homes and your other pets, and that too has to be determined in order to place the dog with the appropriate family. We will do the introduction for you of your other dog or pet before we allow the dog to go home with you. If we see that is not working we will not adopt to you. We reserve the right to not adopt to anyone we want to reject for any reason. One thing we know is that all dogs need a caring positive and loving environment where mutual respect allows for the animals growth into his new family. If you follow that simple rule these adoptions will be great, if not, we will probably get the dog back.

There are always cases where the first person the dog sees at the shelter or at rescue is his new best friend. Both Diane and I have found repeatedly that who ever takes the dog out of the crate at the shelter or out of the car at our home is their go to person. Dogs decide quickly if they like you and bond quickly when you show them love and affection. Dogs look for direction and judge acceptance and accept dominance from those they respect. Respect comes from the dogs ability to bond with their owner. Of course initially when meeting this new dog, no one knows one another and therefore it is acceptance and not bonding that takes place. Bonds can only develop over time and only in an environment that allows for this transition. It is how each perceives the other that can become the catalyst for a life-long bond to take place.

It may sound funny but we always talk to the animals we get. We assure them that everything will work out well in our softest voice and we do couch cuddles with each and every dog we take in nightly. This soft talk and touch also provides the assurance they need to accept us as friends. We know this friendship is temporary and will end soon. We always know that they will go to their new owners, but somehow this time together is understood by the dogs and they come to know us as a transfer station of life and not their forever home. It always makes me happy (yet sad) to see this dog I bathed for dirt, poop and fleas, cleaned up from his prior shelter experience and cuddled, just walk out the door in a week or so to his new home and family. It is a weird feeling to see him glance back at me, in a very subtle and micro second moment, give me a nod or a wink of thanks and be out of my life in a flash. As I walk back to the house I always have a feeling of loss combined with happiness. Diane and I do a high five and always say, “we will miss him or her’ but in the same breath we are ready for the next critter to come through the door.

Dogs can lead a charmed or really bad life. No one knows what kind of person will get them. There are many really bad people out there. Not everyone is a Michael Vic or worse, but there surely are really bad people out there who hurt dogs and animals for their own sick enjoyment. My thoughts are to euthanize them all in lieu of many of the animals their callousness causes to be killed, but alas that is not in the cards. We are committed to helping those animals we can. That does not mean all of them. As a home based rescue we can only do what life allows and we can therefore only take in 2 at a time, and as stated only those GSD’s that meet our strict criteria.

If you want to read more about adopting, training, traits, costs, obligations of adopters and dog issues, check out other articles on the web site. If you have questions, even if you did not adopt or rescue a pet, feel free to call us for help.